Monday, January 26, 2015

Heck of a halibut deal

Ketchikan-based Waterfall Resort, which bills itself as the most popular fishing lodge in Alaska, is touting a new program to allow anglers to "take home twice the halibut."

"To make this program possible, Waterfall Resort is partnering with commercial fishermen to purchase surplus halibut quota and then offer it exclusively to guests at our cost," the lodge says.

More details in this press release.


Anonymous said...

This was the intent of the GAF provision of the Halibut CSP. Approved by the commercial and charter sector.

Anonymous said...

WOW..$495 for the right to retain an additional halibut. I love to eat halibut but I don't think it's quite THAT good.

Anonymous said...

The favorite getaway of the movers and swingers who make American Petroleum Institute official policy?

Kind of ironic that oil industry executives end up benefiting from firsheries privatization (despite overwhelming evidence that privatization has failed to preserve the actual resource).

STEVE HENN: Every August, some of the most powerful members of Congress pack their gear to go fishing at an exclusive resort nestled on an island deep in the Alaskan bush.
RED CAVANEY: Speaker Hastert is a great fisherman. Loves fishing.
Red Cavaney is not in Congress but he's a regular on the trips. So is Senator Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican.

CAVANEY: He enjoys sitting out there, pole in hand, cigar in mouth and having the time of his life and he does more than his fair share of catch out there.
It's an experience most people could never afford. The lodge where the trip takes place is called Waterfall and it costs almost $1,000 a night. The annual fishing event has been going on for more than a decade. Wayne Leong was a fishing guide at Waterfall for 17 years.

WAYNE LEONG: It's a five-star resort. The guests they'll have like Dungeness crab, oysters, white spotted shrimp, prime rib, rack of lamb, that kind of stuff.
Marketplace has identified at least 10 prominent members of Congress who have attended at various times in the past decade. The trip's an opportunity for the energy industry's top brass to mingle with an assortment of America's most powerful public servants.

So who else joins the party? High-ranking executives from British Petroleum, Amoco, Marathon Oil and dozens of other firms. Oh, and Red Cavaney, who you met a minute ago. Cavaney's the President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry's top lobbying group in Washington. Cavaney says no energy industry second stringers get onto the island.

Anonymous said...

This has got to be a joke. Right now in Vancouver, the halibut fishery is complaining to the IPHC about not having enough halibut to sustain its fishery, and demanding to virtually wipe out the Alaska trawl Catcher Processor fishery and the thousands of jobs that go with it. But here we read that halibut fishery has so much extra halibut that they are selling it to rich guy fishing resorts? What gives?!!!

Anonymous said...

9:15 are you for real?

The 'joke' here is that bycatch is so far out of control that it now accounts for more than 90% of all removals in the Bering Sea, and there is a strong likelihood of a complete closure due to increases in bycatch. The longliners and charters have already been cut back by 70%+, and the bycatch industry has shattered their lives, families and careers already. Is it too much to ask that the factory fleet incur a comparable reduction? For crying out loud there are far fewer fish, but their bycatch keeps increasing!?

Despite this reality, the factory fleet and NPFMC refuse to make any meaningful reduction in bycatch whatsoever.

The charters and longliners have been reduced to mere scraps that are no longer economical to fish (less than 1,500 lbs for GAF fish), the catch sharing plan allows the charters to catch more in exchange for compensation to the longliners who will get paid by charters instead of plants. I'm sure the longliners would entertain a similar mechanism (compensated bycatch) but the factory boats have been robbing the resource so long they think that's okay.

If the council refuses to act, get ready for the lawsuit. The NPFMC failed to 'minimize bycatch' as required by the Magnuson Stevens Act, and if the lawsuit fails, the IPHC has the authority to shut down the factory fleet. Furthermore, if the MSC has any credibility whatsoever (a big if), they'll also step in and strip the sustainable label from this fleet.

My advice: Start seeking a reasonable compromise by requesting an emergency reduction in bycatch immediately. Continuing to bury your head in the sand while people lose their businesses and homes to your bycatch cannot continue, and it's a recipe for a massive change to the allocation of that fishery.

And for crying out loud, you're comparing a lodge in Ketchikan to the Bering Sea longline fleet. Go find 4CDE and Ketchikan on a chart and then ask yourself if that's a reasonable comparison.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as surplus halibut... No one with any amount of halibut will bother leasing it to the charter boys. However 2C and 3A got cut so bad that there are lots of blocks less then a 1000 lbs. What's a guy going to do with a 200 pound block of halibut, it's not even worth putting gear on the boat. A lot of the really small blocks get left in the water. So maybe this will help some guys out. I'm not sure I'm a fan of catering to the charter sector but at the end of the day the real enemy is the westward trawling.

Anonymous said...

So how much halibut do you halibut guys catch and throw back every year, in 4cde? Is it more or less than the trawlers catch and throw back? And don't fudge the numbers with factors of this, and mortality rates of that. Straight pounds, who throws back more? If it's the halibut fleet itself, then why isn't that the by catch problem that needs the most attention, or is this just about pointing the finger at someone else so you can avoid facing your own responsibility for this problem. And how is it, in this day and age the directed halibut fleet still gets away without observers on every boat? Like the world is supposed to just trust these fishermen to accurately report catch when everybody else in the world has observers? What's up with that?

Anonymous said...

The charter fleet is paying close to the dock price for halibut that is already allocated. GAF requires two willing parties to make it work. The Charter fleet is working with the longliners to reign in the by catch. The halibut fishery is now fully allocated and leasing this way was approved by both sectors. If Waterfall can get 500 dollars for one halibut of any size, then more power to them. The market finds the highest and best use of the resource. If you don't like it, too f'ing bad.

Anonymous said...

According to NMFS data, the 2014 BSAI worst halibut bycatch offender was the hook and line fleet, with 10,146,200 lbs, with the entire trawl CP fleet- A80 plus the TLAS, at 7,359,507 lbs; Directed halibut fleet was distant with 1,150,000 lbs.

In the Gulf of Alaska 2014 the worst offender of halibut bycatch was, yes you guessed it, THE DIRECTED HALIBUT FLEET ITSELF with 9,591,667 lbs of halibut bycatch. The trawl cp fleet was less than half, at 4,449,922 lbs; hook and line was a close 3rd with 3,930,539 lbs.

Facts are stubborn things, and thats the fact, jack. What to do about it. Blame it all on the trawl fleet which wasnt the worst offender in either the BSAI or the Gulf? Sure, if you want to ignore the science, ignore a real solution to the bycatch problem, and instead achieve some political agenda.

Anonymous said...

Facts ARE stubborn things.

Halibut released from the directed fishery live, like 95% of the time.

Halibut crushed to death in the cod end of a trawl die the vast majority of the time.

Don't believe me, then watch these guys pugh fish and feed them to the sea lions, then ask yourself if that's a valid comparison:

This is not an isolated incident--these boats have geared up to dispose of dead halibut by pughing them in the side and throwing them over.

Don't even try to pass those manipulated numbers around and parade them as fact. The science IS NOT on your side.

Anonymous said...

@4:25- Three questions, what's the mortality rate of trawl halibut by catch? What's the mortality rate of hook and line halibut by catch? I'd bet 90 some% of the halibut I catch that are under 32" or in excess of quota survive. I've heard of 30000 lbs of juvenile halibut dumped off trawlers after one tow. What's worse?

Anonymous said...

Pretend that running 50,000 hooks a day and you leave 95% of your halibut bycatch alive. It's pure fantasy. Hook and line bycatch was 12 million pounds of halibut by-catch, un observed so it's probably double that in reality. You pretend it is only one million and wonder why the halibut stock is mysteriously decreasingly? Get a grip.
100% observer coverage in the Bering sea and Gulf is absolutely necessary now. If you fish, you have to be observed- no exceptions. 100% observers, 100% mortality and no more bs from anybody about how their bycatch doesn't count for this reason or that. That's the only way to clean up the fishery and sustain the halibut stock. .

Anonymous said...

So what exactly is the science on hook and line mortality?

Anonymous said...

The comments about 50,000 hooks a day should be directed at freezer longliners. They are going after p-cod. I have an auto baiter and can only run about 12,000 hooks a day. I have a cap of 2C/3A (mostly 3A) halibut. I caught 85% as by catch during my black cod fishing. The rest I caught in 4 day of directed halibut fishing. I was observed 50% of the time which is better than the 7% the Kodiak and sand point trawl fleet were.

Anonymous said...

January 29, 2015 at 4:25 PM. How about the fact that the trawlers that got put on 100% observers saw their halibut bycatch numbers increase dramatically. Everybody knows it the trawlers don't tell the truth when they self report their bycatch numbers. 60 trawlers in the GOA doing so much damage to catch a bunch of crappy fish that get sent to china. Stupid processors that depend on volume to make a profit instead making profit by adding value or better marketing.